Last time, I talked about USAA’s banking app and how useful I found it. I recommended it and debit cards for responsible kids as well. But what if your kids are younger or not as good with their spending?
When my husband was growing up, his parents had him and his sister on a “Bank of Fabian” system. His parents kept a running tally of the kids’ incomes (allowances, gift money, etc.) and when one of them needed money for something, they would go to their parents, who would give them the cash and mark it in the ledger. This kept the kids from having loose money around when they didn’t need it.
Having had the experience of a family friend stealing the money I’d been keeping in a can to save up for a banjo, I could appreciate the system. (Life lesson—a coffee can carefully decorated with the label “Banjo Money” is endearing but stupid, even if stuck in your closet.) Thus, when our kids were little but old enough to get allowances, we used Bank of Fabian. Problem was, the list stayed at home, but they wanted money when we were out, so we sometimes lost track (usually to the kids’ favor, as we’d give them the money and forget to mark it).
However, my wonderful tech-minded husband found a great app to let us track their accounts: Loot. Loot is a bank account ledger that allows simple budgeting.
You can use it for multiple accounts, program in repeating transactions (like allowances), use tags and labels to help with searching or being able to answer the kids when they wonder why their money is gone already. It also lets you transfer from one account to another, like when the kids give each other money for something.
Before we got the kids debit cards, Loot helped us to keep track of their spending and to help them be more aware of their own spending. I wish we could have saved the data to a cloud, so that when Rob made a transaction on his phone, it showed up on mine, but as long as we synchronized once in a while, we did fine.
So it you prefer not to hand your kids their allowance in cash, but aren’t ready to trust them with a debit card, take a look at Loot.
Copyright 2013 Karina Fabian